How to Ensure Data Security in a Hybrid Workplace25 Aug 2021 | Michael Waksman
Have you heard the future of work is hybrid? With the pandemic forcing companies to adopt a remote working policy and the role of technology becoming increasingly important, it seems likely that things will not go back to the way they were. According to Microsoft’s 2021 World Trade Index, 73% of employees “want flexible work options to continue”, while 66% of businesses are “considering redesigning physical spaces to better accommodate hybrid work environments”.
For Chief Information Security Officers, however, converting to a hybrid workplace would make things more difficult. Protecting company data becomes harder when half the employees are working from home, public spaces, and other locations that aren’t necessarily secure. Devices moving in and out of company networks are more likely to be infected with malware. And to make things more complicated,
most organizations don’t have a detailed plan for switching to a hybrid model.
But don’t worry. In this blog, we want to lend a helping hand by offering 5 tips on how to protect sensitive data in a hybrid workplace. Let’s get started!
Tip 1: Educate Your Employees
For many companies, the security practices of remote workers represent their biggest area of vulnerability. There’s a whole host of bad habits that can open the door to attackers, from working on insecure Wi-Fi connections to using personal computers for work purposes – or vice versa. If your employees aren’t made aware of precautions they should be taking away from the office, then they probably won’t know they’re guilty of poor security hygiene.
Educating your employees is an essential part of maintaining data security in a hybrid workplace. For starters, you need to create a clear set of data protection policies that everyone follows on a day-to-day basis, regardless of whether they’re working from home or the office. Security awareness training should also be provided to ensure employees are on board with guidelines.
Policies will differ based on business type and compliance requirements, but there are certain areas that all companies will want to address in their guidelines, such as password creation and remote access.
Tip 2: Central Management of Encryption and Data Wiping
We recommend that all companies switching to a hybrid model – or frankly, any company – should include the use of data encryption and data wiping in their cybersecurity guidelines. By providing employees with the relevant training and access to encryption and data wiping software, they will be able to keep data protected from both physical and virtual threats.
For greater consistency and reliability when it comes to company-wide use of data protection software, businesses should also consider using central management of encryption and data wiping tools.
Enterprise editions of data wiping software provide greater protection against data spills as administrators have remote management of all wiping activities. This way, sensitive data that should be securely and permanently erased won’t go unnoticed. An upgrade to your encryption software will also allow for remote deployment of client software, centralized storage of keys, and password recovery for emergency access to encrypted data.
Tip 3: Protect Your Cloud Data
If your business is switching to a hybrid working model, you might find yourself becoming more reliant on cloud services. You’re not alone. One study has shown that business cloud spending grew by 35% in 2020. And it makes sense. Cloud technology provides companies using a hybrid model with greater flexibility and accessibility for employees based in various locations.
One mistake you shouldn’t make, however, is to believe cloud service providers are solely responsible for data stored in the cloud. No matter what type of cloud service your business is using, you have a responsibility to protect your data and user access.
So, how should you secure information that’s stored in the cloud? Encrypting sensitive data before it’s uploaded to cloud services is one very effective solution. Other measures you can take include using strong passwords, monitoring and limiting access to files and making sure your network security is robust.
Tip 4: Consider the Zero-Trust Model
One method of protecting data in hybrid workplaces that’s gaining in popularity is the zero-trust model. While falling on the more extreme end of data security, this approach can be especially effective for businesses with enough resources and patience.
The zero-trust model is based around the premise that no devices or users should be trusted, not even those within the company network. Instead, users will have to continuously go through authentication protocols in order to access anything on the network.
An important part of the zero-trust model is the ‘principle of least privilege’, which means that users are only given the minimum level of access needed to perform their jobs. And this isn’t only limited to human access. Systems, applications and connected devices will also require different levels of permission to perform different tasks.
So while the zero-trust model might not be possible or even preferable for most companies, it’s an approach worth considering when switching to a hybrid model.
Tip 5: And Don’t Forget...
...these essential security principles:
- Only use work computers for work
- Work computers must not be used by anyone other than designated employees
- Always install computer updates promptly
- Unapproved software must not be installed on work laptops
- Use 2-factor authentication for certain tools or wherever possible
Enterprise Data Protection by Jetico
Jetico’s Enterprise Data Protection software is ideal for Chief Information Security Officers and IT teams that want to protect their data in a hybrid workplace. Not only do BestCrypt and BCWipe offer endpoint data protection against physical and virtual threats, but also administrators are able to remotely manage encryption and wiping tasks across the company network from a single interface.
Contact our data protection specialists to find out more.
Michael Waksman has been serving as CEO of Jetico since 2011, more than doubling the size of the company during his tenure. He brings more than 20 years of communications, technology and leadership experience.
At Jetico, Waksman has lead creation of the corporate identity, raising global brand awareness, building a more commercially-driven team and initiating enterprise customer relations. Jetico has maintained a wide user base throughout the U.S. Defense community, in the global compliance market and for personal privacy.
Waksman served as vice-chairman of the Cyber Group for the Association of Finnish Defense and Aerospace Industries. Recognized as a security and privacy advocate, he is a frequent speaker at international events, occasionally on behalf of the Finnish cyber security industry. In 2012, Waksman was honored with The Security Network's Chairman's Award for fostering collaboration between the United States and Finland. As dual citizen, he is a native New Yorker and has been living in the Helsinki region for over 15 years.
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